Trying To Keep Our Pretzel Game Fresh…

We love pretzels…any which way really but sometimes a classic needs to be shaken up no?!
We’ve done salted, whole wheat, with bacon, with chocolate etc.. etc…
This past week we tried to combine an olive and rosemary ciabatta dough and a pretzel base in hopes of breathing some new life into our pretzel line. Sometimes it is so hard to be creative and come up with a magic combination. Well…ciabatta pretzel bun kind of knocked our socks off! It was chewy but dense in all the right places. Eating rosemary with dark olives in a pretzel format made me giddy with excitement. Think this one is here to stay!Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

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Pretzels vs. Bretzels

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1Being in Montreal we’ve got to follow some pretty serious language laws. Don’t get me wrong, I love the living in Montreal and all the city has to offer but sometimes things are a wee bit complicated! It’s not always easy for a business to follow suit when you sell German Pretzels. We’ve even gone so far as to change our name to Bretzel & Compagnie. Do you call these babies Bretzels or Pretzels? I’m curious to know!

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DIY photo session….

When you have your own business most often every penny that comes in is accounted for. Tight budgets don’t often allow for frequent photo shoots or big media campaigns. As a business owner you’ve really got to get creative with advertising and hope for the best every time you put yourself and your business out there. It’s not easy. The Public is a tough audience. More often than not people are receptive, kind and encouraging this helps so much.  Now with the likes of Instagram, Pinterest and twitter everyone seems to be out there leading and enjoying  so called picture perfect lives. It really makes for many tough acts to follow.

Pretzel baguette being shot by photographer with a chocolate stained apron!

We are truly fortunate to have really creative and take charge kinds of people working with us. This wasn’t an easy feat but the team we have now is great! We’ve got wonderful gals who know when something needs sprucing up or are always willing to happily bag granola, cookies or pretzels. They are really great at helping me juggle my babies as well!  Seems like small potatoes but it so isn’t at all!  Having happy people working with you to represent your business is invaluable. We really have learned this the hard way in the past.

trying to capture just how wonderful a gift certificate from Bretzel & Co is!

We’ve got a fantastic budding film maker/photographer who really helps us out. Anytime we need some new products shot or a video made he is there ready to go. It usually happens between serving customers, pulling pretzels from the oven or juggling babies but so far it works! Last week we did an impromptu photo session and I always love to see our products on film. It makes me feel really proud that we are producing quality goodies made with love. I kind of think that our photographer has a way of really capturing that! I should add that without him we wouldn’t have such a beautiful documentation of our growing family either!

What's a photo session without a picture of how cute baby hands and feet are eating pretzels!

 

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The Year of the Pretzel…

We’re back after what has been a very busy and hectic although joyous year. I really took for granted how hard it actually is to maintain a blog.  Writing a post in one thing.  To make it pretty and interesting is another. Kudos to all of you successful bloggers out there who do it daily or weekly with such great gusto and drive.  The fact that people have lives that are so exciting and pretty is beyond me.   We are definitely immersed in all things sweet and tasty at the moment.  Between our two blooming businesses and our three little boys we are definitely in deep.  I like to call it a beautiful chaos.  Wouldn’t have it any other way actually. For us 2014 is about family, taking our bakeries to new heights and just being in the moment to enjoy this beautiful ride that we are on.

our proverbial "bun in the oven"

I have declared 2014 the year of the pretzel.  Kind of dreaming of a pretzel product domination across Montreal but not sure if that is too lofty or not!   Slowly but sure always wins the race no?

This is the year for our pretzel business to bloom..

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Reflections on four years….

This week our little bakery Dolce Vita hit the four year mark.  We are really proud to have made it this far and hope we can continue on for many more years to come.  The bake(my partner in crime at the bakery and at home) and I decided that we would go in which ever direction this little adventure steers us.   I of course like to help with the steering in certain directions but hey that’s the control freak  visionary in me!

When we began on Thanksgiving weekend in 2008 things were much different.  For a German and an east coaster,  buying a Italian style bakery was a big leap of faith.  Picture us in the most Italian section of Montreal, a newly acquired run down, reputation tarnished bakery.  Not to mention the fact that we were required to keep the existing staff, who were already very disgruntled to say the least. We had our work cut out for us!

We persevered and eventually the “you can’t be here because you aren’t Italian” comments were few and far between. Imagine people saying that?!  We very slowly weeded out the old staff and built our own team of happy and unique individuals.  I think it’s safe to say we have begun to restore the bakery’s reputation.  (Note to self –  in future post about the do’s and don’ts of buying an existing business).  The bake and I have definitely covered many it not all of the do not do points already!

I am making our journey thus far sound negative but it has in fact been anything but.  Each day we both feel joy and gratitude running our own business.  It’s not many people that have the opportunity to do this.  As hectic and as stressful as owning a business gets we try to remember that we are in the baked goods industry!  As silly as it sounds we try to sweeten people’s lives!  The Bake and I work as a team each and every day.  Teamwork is non-negotiable when you spend almost all day, every day together.  Oh and they other need for teamwork?  We have identical twin toddler boys and another “bun in the oven”!   A little bakery humour for you!

I could go on and on about all the things we have learned about the business, people in general and ourselves but my intention isn’t tobe a self help guru…the world already has Oprah! I just want to post on our everyday musings.  Trust me,  at times I feel like we are on an episode of Punk’d!

The other thing – I am kind of obsessed with what I think are beautiful home interiors,  and old furniture…“rotten wood” as a dear family friend calls it!

Stay tuned…promise to try and give you a bit of a laugh now and again!

B

 

 

 

 

 

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Pretzel et compagnie

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